"I started out as a ballet dancer, which is a somewhat unlikely beginning for a writer. I made up for it by marrying Dexter Masters and so becoming a writer’s wife. We’d been living abroad for about five years when I got an idea for a short story that I wanted him to write. I explained and explained. He said, ‘A sentence maybe. Maybe a paragraph. But a whole story? I’m afraid you’re going to have to write it yourself.’ With his help, I did, and it appeared as my first published work in 1975.
I wrote a few more stories, sold a couple, then published my first novel in 1979. It wasn’t very good, I’m sorry to say, but at least it wasn’t about a sensitive young girl. After that I wrote an autobiography, Prologue, about my dancing days, which did pretty well. Then, casting around for subject for another novel, I remembered some weird things my father had said about my grandfather-that this little white boy had been sold as a slave when he was only four years old-and I spent the next ten years writing Theory of War based on what I could find out about my grandfather’s life.
To my vast surprise I won the Whitbread for it and couple other prizes. And everything changed.